Ships hit by U-boats


British Steam merchant

Photo Courtesy of Library of Contemporary History, Stuttgart

Type:Steam merchant
Tonnage4,412 tons
Completed1929 - W. Gray & Co Ltd, Sunderland 
OwnerDene Shipping Co Ltd, London 
Date of attack8 Oct 1942Nationality:      British
FateSunk by U-125 (Ulrich Folkers)
Position4° 29'N, 17° 41'W - Grid ET 7357
Complement43 (5 dead and 38 survivors).
RouteBuenos Aires (23 Sep) - Freetown - Mersey 
Cargo6900 tons of general cargo 
History Completed in November 1929 
Notes on event

At 17.25 hours on 8 Oct 1942 the unescorted Glendene (Master Ernest Fear) was hit on the starboard side by two torpedoes from U-125 while steaming on a non-evasive course at 9 knots about 300 miles southwest of Freetown. The first torpedo hit amidships in the fore part of the engine room and caused the boilers to explode, killing the chief engineer and two firemen on watch below. The second torpedo hit a few seconds later in #2 hold and blew its hatches and beams into the air, showering the deck with debris and damaging the starboard lifeboat. No distress signals were sent as the explosions had wrecked the wireless cabin and killed the radio operator. The ship immediately developed a heavy list to port and the surviving crew members and six gunners (the ship was armed with one 4in, one 12pdr, one 20mm and four machine guns) began to abandon ship in both lifeboats, but most had to jump overboard when she capsized to starboard and sank by the stern about 90 seconds after being torpedoed. The master had launched the jolly boat that was upturned by the wash of the sinking ship and he was thrown into the sea, later recovered unconscious by the port lifeboat, which searched the large field of wreckage for survivors swimming in the water before its occupants were questioned by the Germans, who took photos of the scene. The chief officer asked for medical assistance for the master and he was told that the U-boat had no doctor aboard, but was handed some pills. The survivors also asked for drinking water and were given eight gallons in olive oil tanks and the course to Freetown. When the chief officer told Folkers that he had drowned more than half the crew by firing two torpedoes in his haste to sink the vessel, he answered that he was in a hurry to get back to Germany and those were his last two torpedoes, adding that this was war and Britain declared war first. After 20 minutes, the Germans wished the survivors good luck and the U-boat left. Later that night the master died of heart trouble despite applying artificial respiration and was buried at sea. At daylight, all survivors were transferred into the port lifeboat because the starboard boat and the jolly boat were too badly damaged. The men recovered the water and rations from the abandoned boats and rafts and then set sail. At 16.00 hours on 10 October, the 32 crew members and six gunners attracted the attention of Agapenor with red flares and were picked up after having sailed 60 miles. However, this ship was sunk by U-87 (Berger) the next night. All survivors from the Glendene were picked up after a few hours by HMS Petunia (K 79) (LtCdr J.M. Rayner, RD, RNR) and landed at Freetown at daybreak on 12 October. On 15 October, they left Freetown for Glasgow aboard the British steam passenger ship Carnavon Castle.

On boardWe have details of 43 people who were on board

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